450 WakaWakas for primary students at the Crimson Academy, Rwanda

The How Far Foundation is dedicated to providing marginalized children in Kigina, Rwanda with an education. Therefore, together with the Crimson Foundation, they founded the Crimson Academy in 2011. Last June, 450 students received something they did not have before: light in the dark. Enabling them to study in the evening to make their dreams come true.

Only 21% of the 11.3 million inhabitants of Rwanda have access to electricity. In rural areas, the percentage is even lower, 5% (World Energy Outlook, 2013). Rwanda is located near the equator which means it gets dark around 6 ‘o clock in the evening. Consequently, a large part of the off-grid Rwandan population is forced to live in the dark after 6pm. Those who can afford it, therefore, rely on alternative sources of energy for lighting such as kerosene lamps, which are expensive, dangerous, unhealthy and provide poor lighting. Poor lighting, or no lighting at all, makes studying at night difficult and therefore limits Rwandan students to achieve the best school results possible.

The WakaWaka solar-powered units provide light in the darkness and are a safe, healthy and sustainable alternative to candles and kerosene lamps. We are happy to say that all 450 students of the Crimson Academy in Rwanda are now able to study at night. In order to stimulate the careful and proper use of the device, the students receiving the WakaWaka have to live up to certain agreements. As such, the lights are received in return for a community service and should be used for learning purposes to improve their study results. At the end of each semester, the students take their lights back to the school where they will be checked and maintained.


“It works very well, as you can see. I use it to do homework” – quote from Crimson Academy student

We are proud to announce that the project at Crimson Academy has also caught  the attention of documentary maker and founder of Looks Like A Plan, Aldine Reinink. Together with the co-founder of WakaWaka, Maurits Groen, she went to Rwanda to document the initiative and her efforts have definitely paid off since the short clip was shown on the Belgium news.

“I think it is important to spread the great story of WakaWaka as far as possible, a movie is a perfect way to do that. Hopefully, as many people as possible see what a difference such a miraculous solar light can make for these children” – Aldine Reinink

WakaWaka provided about 6,000 households with safe light and electricity in Rwanda. Families, with on average three children, were reached via WakaWaka’s innovative pay-as-you-go model, via purchase and distribution of NGOs, and via direct sales to the end-customer.